My dancing doll is a new acquisition. I love the way she sits on my desk, keeping me company, encouraging creativity and reminding me to move. I bought her on impulse, and she cost less than ten dollars, which is a small price to pay for such a treasure.
She reminds me of lessons from a role theory unit during a graduate counselling course when a group of mature students were invited to explore the psycho-dramatic roles important for a counsellor. We chose one woman to be the protagonist (main character) in a psychodrama vignette under the direction of the lecturer. She then named the roles she thought important to her as a counsellor.
I can’t remember her reasoning, but one of the roles she included was that of dancer. Perhaps it was because, in an earlier time, she’d been a dancer and she could see the connection. She nominated six or eight of us to play different roles and inexplicably chose me for the role of dancer.
At first I was shy, a bit embarrassed. I didn’t believe I could ‘dance’ the part. When people talk about what they might have done with their lives if the cards had fallen differently, I joke that my mother thwarted my earliest and most cherished ambition, to be a ballet dancer. It is unfair of me to blame my mother. Anyone less likely to be a dancer is hard to imagine.
My lasting lesson from the vignette was that playing with ideas demands no limits. I didn’t need to overthink and I didn’t always have to think literally. By the end of the afternoon, I found I could move more easily than I had since I was a little girl. Dancing can be fluttering, swaying, bending, jigging. Dancing can be any movement that makes one feel free and fluid.
That afternoon I received a crash course in creativity. I discovered that my body was made to move, to dance and swim and run and jump. Although the mother of adolescent children, I wasn’t too old to move freely. I joined a jazz-exercise class with a neighbour. Neither of us became a dancing doll, but we had a lot of fun.
The exercise habit eventually embedded itself strongly. I still walk and swim most days, except that the hot weather is more of a challenge for walking than it used to be when I was younger.
So, on the very hottest days, I walk the length and breadth of air-conditioned shopping centres close to home until my counting gadget registers the prescribed number of steps for the day. That’s how I stumbled across my dear little dancing doll in IKEA and fell in love with her.
She reminds me of lessons learned and prompts me to get up and move around when I become too involved in whatever I’m working on.
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